Firefighters battled a 4-alarm blaze at an elderly housing complex Thursday morning in Boston's Brighton neighborhood.
The fire was reported around 8:30 a.m. at a five-story Boston Housing Authority building at 20 Washington St. It was knocked down around 9:20.
Sky Ranger video from above the scene showed multiple fire trucks and ladders at the scene as smoke poured out from a second-floor window that had been broken.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
Boston Fire Commissioner Joseph Finn said about 15 to 20 people had to be evacuated, with the remaining residents in the 25-unit building sheltering in place.
"There was a lot of high anxiety initially because they had people at the rear windows that couldn't get out," he said. "They couldn't find their way out of the building."
Three people were rescued from the rear of the building through windows using ground ladders.
Two residents were injured, but Finn said those injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
"More smoke inhalation and fall and tripping injuries," he said.
Fire officials said the cause of the fire is believed to be careless disposal of smoking materials.
Finn it appears to have started in the bedroom of one apartment unit and was contained to that unit. There was significant smoke damage throughout the building, however.
He said residents should be able to return to the majority of the apartments in the building, though the unit where the fire started and surrounding units may not be immediately livable.
Washington Street from Beacon Street to Commonwealth Avenue was closed as a result of the fire, according to police.
Crews are expected to remain on scene for some time to overhaul and vent the building.